This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Two big pieces of good news last week were the Senate’s decision to shelve the $1.7 trillion Build Back Better spending bill and the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it will begin tapering back money supply growth, which should help tame inflation starting next year. In sadder news, COVID-19 claimed its 800,000th death in the United States. It has killed more than 5.3 million people worldwide. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from livestock herders to ulcer management.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 74 final regulations last week, after 77 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 16 minutes.
  • With 3,142 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,260 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 50 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 29 the previous week.
  • With 2,026 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,102 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,102 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 422 notices last week, after 384 notices the previous week.
  • With 21,287 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,174 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,101 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,811 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 299 pages.
  • With 71,791 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 74,483 pages in 2021. The 2020 total was 87,352 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (subtracting skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. There are 25 such rules so far in 2021, one from the last week. Agencies published five economically significant rules in 2020, and four in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from $8.94 billion to $14.06 billion. The 2020 figure ranges from net savings of between $2.04 billion and $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 356 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with four in the last week. This is on pace for 380 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 879 new rules affect small businesses; 94 are classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

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